Concrete can be used to pour new walls, or existing walls can be covered with concrete to give them a new look. Other building methods include concrete block construction or precast concrete wall panels.
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When pouring new walls, concrete wall forms are built using wood or special forming systems like the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF).
Form liners can be added before the concrete is poured to give the walls a textured face. Integral color can also be added to the concrete mix, and even poured in contrasting layers for a unique look.
Unlike traditional concrete forms, insulating concrete forms (ICF) are not removed once the concrete hardens. Instead, ICFs remain as permanent parts of the concrete structure.
While concrete creates the structure, the ICFs insulate the structure. Homes and buildings with ICF foundations are soundproof, airtight, and comfortable in all seasons.
This insulation helps homeowners save on energy costs for heating and cooling throughout the year.
ICFs are often made from a combination of insulating materials, such as plastic foam beads and cement, or wood fibre and cement.
Another popular material for ICFs is expanded or extruded polystyrene. Expanded polystyrene is made by expanding plastic beads in a mould, similar to Styrofoam coffee cups.